Television

"Corporatisation has not succeeded in the entertainment sector" : producer Asit Modi

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2016/02/15/Untitled-1_1.jpg?itok=zaRO7Ce3

In a short span of four years, Asit Modi has carved a niche for himself as a producer of successful sitcoms. 

Modi, who started off as an independent TV producer with Hum Sab Ek Hain on Sony, went on to produce Yeh Duniya Hai Rangeen for the same channel. He has recently come up with Meri Biwi Wonderful, an Indian adaptation of the hugely successful 1960s series Bewitched.

Meri Biwi Wonderful carries a novelty factor in that it combines comedy with elements of abracadabra and the supernatural.In a tete-a-tete with indiantelevision.com correspondent Amar, Modi comes across as a man who has a lot of passion and love for his work. Excerpts -

How did you start off as producer?

I have been involved with theatre in almost all capacities since college. In 1988, it struck me that producing TV software could be a viable business. After that, I starting learning the nuances of the television medium and after three years was able to produce my first serial in Gujarati. In 1995, I co-produced Kabhi Yeh Kabhi Woh for DD Metro and later co-produced Rajani starring the late Priya Tendulkar for the same channel. Hum Sab Ek Hain was my first independent work as producer and it came on air in 1998.
 
Which subjects appeal to you? You seem to be a sitcom specialist.

(Laughs) No, no. In fact, I would love to do varied subjects. It's just that after the success of Hum Sab Ek Hain, the channel started feeling more confident about entrusting comedies to me. But I would love to work on other genres.
 
"In the wake of growing competition one needs to be all the more alert to changing viewer preferences"
 
How was 'Meri Biwi Wonderful' conceived?

Meri Biwi Wonderful, as you know, is based on the popular comedy Bewitched that was produced by Columbia Tristar in the mid sixties. The concept was given to me by the channel and I was asked if the same could be adapted in the Indian context. After working on the concept, I felt confident that it would indeed succeed with our viewers. See, it has a big novelty factor in it. For the first time on Indian TV, a sitcom is laced with magic and the supernatural.



In fact, I am proud to be associated with a Columbia Tristar production even if it is in an indirect way.
 
Has the recent trend of dailies made it difficult for producers like you to get good weekly slots?

Yes, I would feel so. Ideally, comedies work best as weeklies. But personally I am confident of making a good daily sitcom if I get a chance. I have, in fact, carefully studied most daily sitcoms to analyse why most of them have not worked.



I have also acquired the rights of over 1,500 stories written by a veteran writer Tarak Mehta for Chitralekha. I hope to adapt them into successful TV serials some day.
 
All your programmes have been on Sony. Is there any specific reason behind it?

No. In fact, I would love to work with all the channels. It's just that I have a great rapport with Sony. They have shown tremendous faith in me and I feel all the more motivated to live up to that faith.
 
Do you find channel EPs overbearing in their attitude nowadays?

Well, I would say they are more involved in all respects. We need to understand that in the wake of growing competition one needs to be all the more alert to changing viewer preferences. There have been occasions when I have had to re shoot a few scenes but I have taken it positively.
 
What are your sources of funding?

It's my own money and the revenues from my earlier serials, which I plough back into the business.
 
Who are your favourite directors on TV?

B P Singh, Gautam Adhikari and Raju Parsekar are among my favourite directors. I love thrillers and would love to create a riveting thriller myself some day. All of B P Singh's work is very crisp and stylishly shot. The man's passion comes out in all his serials.
 


"As long as a comedy is able to make people forget their worries and cheer them up, it's commendable"
 
Which are the areas you are personally involved with as producer?

I'm involved with each and every area. Right from the story to the casting to the actual execution, I contribute in every possible way. I produce what I love and leave no stone unturned in ensuring that my serials conform to the highest quality. For Yeh Duniya Hai Rangeen, I had created a sprawling housing complex at MBC studio to give a realistic setting.
 
Don't you have any plans for Neela Telefilms going corporate?

I do not have a plan as such. See, corporatisation has not been very successful in the entertainment sector. Because once you make your production unit a manufacturing factory, your individual involvement and passion that is so important for a quality product gets diluted. Of course, I want to expand and take up more serials but I would never undertake such volumes that I cannot bring out without my whole-hearted involvement going into it.
 
Of late, do you feel there has been a surfeit of slapstick on TV?

Well, I have never believed in categorisation of comedies. I only believe that there is something called good comedy and something called bad comedy. As long as a comedy is able to make people forget their worries and cheer them up, it's commendable.
 
Would you have produced 'Raamkhilawaan CM & Family'?

Well, that's a difficult question to answer as it is very hypothetical. See, even in comedies one has to make sure that there is something to hook the women audiences. As far as a political satire goes, on a concept level it runs the risk of alienating the women viewers. But when I saw a couple of episodes of Raamkhilawaan I found it exciting overall.



My decision on whether or not to produce a sitcom like Raamkhilawaan would have depended on several contingent factors.
 


"Once you understand the writer - his mind, his strengths and weaknesses, it's becomes relatively easy to get out of him what you are looking for"
 
Who are your favourite writers?

I have no favourites as such. I believe writing is a tough job and most writers who are in the business are reasonably good and talented. It's more a question of striking the right understanding with them, which happens over a period of time. Moreover, producers who are really passionate about their stories have their own take on it. I feel once you understand the writer - his mind, his strengths and weaknesses, it's becomes relatively easy to get out of him what you are looking for.
 
Which are the projects you have in the pipeline?

I have always taken up projects selectively. Right now, I'm working on two other projects. One is a social drama, while the other is a thriller. But both of them are at the concept level right now.
 
It must be tough financially for an individual producer with just one serial on air. Do you have some other business that keeps you financially stable?

Yeah, but TV is my passion and I'm obsessed with it 24 hours of the day. The only other business I would like to start some day is setting up a restaurant because good food is a major weakness for me.

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/22/karan-bajaj%20%281%29.jpg?itok=PEGordMk
DSport bags rights of Chinese League, IPL on cards

Discovery’s newest offering in the sports industry, DSport, has acquired the rights of the Chinese Super League (CSL). The tournament will be aired from 11 March.

Television TV Channels Sports
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/22/pramod%20%281%29.jpg?itok=X3UbSddA
Pramod Chandorkar is IRAA awards director

The Indian Recording Arts Academy has announced Pramod Chandorkar as the Awards Director. Pramod has been working as a Sound Engineer since 1995. He has worked on numerous mega hit albums and films as Chief Sound Engineer. He is one of the few audio engineers who have excelled in all branches of...

Television TV Shows Awards
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/22/Kalanithi-Maran.jpg?itok=byGkIFgE
Sun TV to benefit greatly from DAS III & IV: Centrum Broking

MUMBAI: Stockbroking firm Centrum Broking’s research team is relatively bullish on the Sun TV Network. In its latest report, Centrum has stated that Sun TV has said that recent developments bode well for the Kalanithi Maran promoted southern TV network. “We draw comfort from the court’s recent...

Television TV Channels Regional
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/21/akash-chawala.jpg?itok=turVwkEr
Akash Chawla bids adieu to ZEEL after 12 years

MUMBAI: Zee Entertainment Enterprises company Zee Studio's executive vice-president - films, and business head Akash Chawla has resigned after a long stint of 12 years.

Television TV Channels People
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/21/Ghost-buster_0.jpg?itok=pN9k_YTs
Tickle your funny bone with 'Ghostbusters' on Sony Pix

MUMBAI: Horror flicks never go out of fashion. And, if it has ghosts with a funny bone, you are in for a treat. Sony Pix is all set to premiere the cult Ghost-comedy film Ghostbusters on 26 February at 1 pm and 9 pm.

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/21/inside-800x800.jpg?itok=_rxsCsI-
Star Plus, Jalsha & Zee telecast challenged in B'Desh SC

MUMBAI: An appeal has been filed in the Bangladesh Supreme Court challenging the country's High Court verdict that approved continuing of telecast of three Indian TV channels. The Bangladesh High Court had paved the way for continuance of telecast of Star Plus, Zee Bangla and Star Jalsha. The...

Television TV Channels Regional
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/21/UK%20TV.jpg?itok=7UJUL8VJ
India's UK TV content imports rise to Rs 125 crore in 2015-2016

MUMBAI: India is the second fastest growing market for the UK content. That’s the findings of the latest TV export report for 2015-2016 released by the Producers Alliance for Cinema & Television (PACT). The report states that imports of British content by Indian broadcasters grew a handsome 43...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/20/BIG-Magic_Akbar_Logo.jpg?itok=WhRLhaGi
Big Magic to air 'Akbar' from 20 Feb

MUMBAI: BIG Magic, a variety general entertainment channel, adds yet another unique offering to its bouquet of shows with the launch of a first-of-its-kind historic drama, ‘Akbar’.

Television TV Channels GECs
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/20/IPL-2017%20%281%29_0.jpg?itok=6bGpZAhN
IPL 2017 auction: Ben Stokes, Tymal Mills top overseas buys, Karn Sharma biggest Indian buy

England’s all rounder Ben Stokes at Rs. 145 million (RPS) followed by compatriot Tymal Mills at Rs. 120 million (RCB) were amongst the top foreign buys, while Indians player Karn Sharma was picked by MI for Rs. 35 million at the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 auction that began in Bengaluru...

Television TV Channels Sports

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories